Words and Expressions: This and That

Having to point something or describe location of something is very basic in any language. When a child is learning to speak, adults would tend to say short phrases complemented with gesture or sign language. Like a child who would have difficulty understanding the simplest statement, same goes for someone learning a new language.

Here are some basic words which i would commonly hear in a Korean conversation:

  • 이 (i or ee) – this
  • 그 (geu) – that (nearby)
  • 저 (jeo) – that (remote)
  • 어디 (eodi) – where

The above set of words can transform into a verb expression.  It would be easier to observe the end state pattern than to explain it inductively:

  • 이래요(iraeyo) – does [it] this way / is like this
  • 그래요 (geuraeyo) – does it that way/ is like that
  • 저래요 (jeoraeyo) – does it that [remote] way / is like that [remote] way
  • 어때요 (eottaeyo) – does it how (or why?) / is like what? (is how?)

There is a long explanation on the steps by which this words are formed.  이래요 is from base form 이러 which is instead of making it 이러요 (ireoyo) or 이러해요 (ireohaeyo), by certain rules on abbreviating, the verb ending becomes 래요.  This is the thing with reading books when learning language, questions could pop up in your mind one after another.

Now it made me understand more the common expression 그래요, it sometimes used to mean you agree on something or conclude it was like that.

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Still on Common Expression

As a Korean Language enthusiast, I sometimes find my self uttering some of Korean expressions or words.  Like the word 아이구 – aigoo or 아이씨 just comes out when I am a little irritated, dismayed or disappointed.  Watching Korean dramas and movies makes you notice these common expressions that people would use in regular conversation.

From one drama to another this expression without even looking at dictionary or consulting my super helpful Korean friends, the word 깜짝이야 (kkamjjagiya) is an expression of surprise.

I hear it a lot of times although it’s a bit too long for an expression of surprise compared to my native language.  Here is a video of how it is said, the video is taken from posts of learnkoreanwithlily from Youtube.

In Filipino language when we are surprised, we typically utter random words like kalabaw (cow), huh, susmaryosep, etc but Koreans actually have the word for it 🙂

Common Drama Words: Geureom (그럼)

I have been watching Korean drama lately.  I just finished watching 별에서 온 그대 (byeoleseo on kudae).  Although the English translated title of this drama is very popular, i still love breaking down the words of the title.  별 (byeol) means star with the place marker 에서  and 온 (on) is from the verb 오다 (oda) which means to come but since it’s in modifier form 온 actually denotes past event, this two words means came from star. 그대 means you which is typically used on songs and poems.  I am not sure if this is still being used in normal Korean conversation though.  So 별에서 온 그대 would mean You (who) came from stars 🙂

Anyway, after watching this 21-episode drama in marathon, i came to realise that there is this word I often hear at the end of the conversation.  This word I am referring to is  그럼 (geureom).  I actually had double thoughts if I heard the word right.  From what I know 그럼 means ‘so’ or ‘by the way’ as such I don’t expect it to be said right at the end of a statement.  It was weird that in most cases where I hear this word from the drama, the scene is the person who just said 그럼 would leave the person he/she is talking to.

To end my curiosity, I asked two of my Korean friends if I am hearing this word right.  This is what I learned from my them,  other than the meaning I know this word is apparently used frequently at the end of Korean conversation.  It means to end discussion and would suggest that the speaker is about to leave or bid goodbye.

Such a little thing but to someone who is eager to learn Korean, this is worthy to know especially that I someday still dream of being conversant in this language.

이거 지금 친구에서 알았어요…그럼 ^^

Expressing I was Wrong

When you did something wrong the expressions 미안해요 (mianhaeyo) and 죄송해요 (chwesonghaeyo) come in handy to say sorry.   When you want to admit you did something wrong or if you want to acknowledge that something unfortunate happened and it was your fault the expression would be 잘 못 했어요 (jal mot haesseoyo).  This means I was wrong or sorry it was my fault.

This expression is very common and you can almost always hear it on dramas.  It is normally said the casual way, 잘 못 했어 (jal mot haesseo).  Literally it means ‘I am  not good’.

Common Expression

I have long been watching Korean dramas.  While everyone is addicted watching Grey’s Anatomy or Glee, I took my sweet time watching Korean dramas or movies.  For the past 2 years i think I have watched more Korean movies than a local or English one.

Since I don’t get to speak with a Native Korean and just exchange emails with some friends, I think watching Korean movies and dramas or listening to Korean songs would at least help me stay in touch with the language.  This way I get to practice pronouncing Korean words and expressions.

One of the most common expressions i think, which never fails to be delivered in most of the Korean movies and dramas I watched,  are these two expressions:

  • Fighting
  • Aja
Figthing is best remembered in the drama Full House.

In English, fighting would mean engaging your self in a battle, game or struggling.  You don’t hear it as a common expression unlike the way Koreans use this terms.  Fighting which is written as 화이팅 (Hwaiting) or 파이팅 (paiting) in Hangul is an expression that can translate to ‘go for it’.  It’s an expression that connotes encouragement.  When i first encountered this expression written in Hangul i looked for it in the dictionary and failed to find what it means.  Then i realized this expression is actually English.   So given that this is borrowed, romanization is not standard i get to see people writing it 화이팅 or 파이팅.

aja! aja! this one is used frequently in the drama Lovers in Paris

Another similar expression is 아자 (aja).  It is said with the same gesture but this one means more as ‘bring it on’.   Very slight difference in use but both connotes positivity — i can do it or i can make it  attitude.

Happy New Year!

새해 행복하세요! (Sae hae haengbokhaseyo!) 복 많이 받으세요! (Bok manhi padeuseyo!)

These are some of handy greetings for New Year.  The first one literally means Happy New Year while the next one in most cases stands for the same meaning but it actually May you have many blessings or lots of fortune.

I am not the type who makes new year resolution which is very common in our country whenever the year is about to start.  It’s like changing something for the better.  I am not sure if Koreans have something like that.  Nevertheless I will really try to focus a bit more time in my  study of the Korean language so I will try to manage my time properly to allow me to study a bit more.   If  my schedule will permit, I will pursue Korean 2 classes on January 2010. I am crossing my fingers.

다시 한번 새 해 행복하세요!

Saying I’m Glad That… or Good Thing That…

The combination of verb ending in -서 followed by 좋아요 renders the meaning  [so and so happens] so it is good.  In English this commonly expressed as I am glad that… or It is a good thing that…

This expression is often used in English conversation especially when an event happened which turns out to your favor.  Below are some expressions that make use of this combination:

  • 어머니가 오셔서 좋아요.  (Eomoniga osyeoseo chuayo.) I’m glad that mother came.
  • 새 가방을 사서 좋아요.  (Sae kabangeul saseo chuayo.) I’m glad I bought a new bag.
  • 선생님 더라와서 좋아요.  (Seonsaengnim deorawaseo chuayo.) It’s a good thing that Seonsaengnim came back.

당신이 이 것을 읽어서 좋아요 ^^